How to Put Away Thousands With the 100 Envelope Money Saving Challenge

Ever heard of the 100-envelope money-saving challenge?

The challenge first went viral on TikTok, where it seemed to get everyone’s attention. 

It’s a fun challenge that motivates people to save by visually representing small savings that can add up quickly, cutting out the overwhelming feeling of needing to put away a ton of money at once

You can determine your own goal for saving and how much you set aside, but for the purpose of this article we’ll use the now-viral benchmark of setting aside $5,050 in three months. As always, choose a saving amount and goal that is right for you and your family. 

How to do the 100-envelope money-saving challenge

To do the 100-envelope money-saving challenge, you’ll need 100 envelopes. Any envelopes will do, as long as you can seal them. You can decorate your envelopes however you’d like to motivate you even more. 

Start by numbering each envelope in the stack from one to one hundred. 

Shuffle the envelopes, and put them in a box or bin that you can easily find. Each day, you’ll randomly select an envelope and place the amount of money written on the envelope inside. 

Now, seal your envelope and place it somewhere safe. 

For example, let’s say it’s the first day of the challenge, and you randomly draw the envelope with the number 30 on it. Put $30 in this envelope and then keep safe with your other sealed envelopes.

If you do this for 100 days, you’ll have $5,050 saved. This is a substantial amount of money to have saved up and can lay a great foundation for future savings for emergencies, paying off debt, saving for school, or future investments.

You can change the amount of money or time you spend saving to make the challenge more appropriate to your circumstances. Keeping physical cash in the envelope make it harder to take out money that is set aside, because it is sealed already, so be sure to have some tangible currency on hand.

100 envelope money-saving challenge variations

One way to make the challenge a little easier is to select two envelopes per week instead of one every day. With this challenge, write the numbers one to 100 on envelopes. You’ll still accumulate $5,050 in cash, but it’ll take almost a year. You can also choose one envelope a week for a year, for a total of 52 envelopes. 

Other variations include selecting an envelope or two every payday, numbering the envelopes one through 50 twice, or using fewer than 100 envelopes. For example, a 50-envelope challenge.

The amount you save over time will change based on how many envelopes you choose, so adjust the timing and mounts twitten on the envelopes according to your goals. 

The goal is to make saving easy and intuitive, so the most important part of the challenge is making it sustainable for your lifestyle. Setting yourself up for financial hardship as you save will only be discouraging, and it defeats the purpose.

Remember to have fun with the challenge because its purpose is to make saving money enjoyable. And when something is enjoyable, you’re more likely to stick to it.

The digital 100-envelope money-saving challenge

If the idea of having cash lying around dissuades you, you can opt for a digital version of the challenge. This is the same thing as the 100-envelope challenge but involves you moving money from your checking account and into your saving account.

Try to use a bank account that cards don’t automatically withdraw from so that your savings add up. 

You can use the same element of surprise and random saving with random number generators or physically numbered cards (if the idea of picking from a hat excites you!).

Reasons for doing the 100-day money-saving challenge

Trying the 100-day challenge can make saving feel like a routine. It creates a sustainable habit of setting aside smaller amounts of money over time, rather than feeling the need to save everything at once. 

Placing what you’ve set aside in a high-yield savings account to earn interest and keep your money safe until you need it most.

How to keep yourself motivated for the 100-envelope challenge

Money-saving challenges can be, well, challenging! It’s normal to have trouble staying motivated while kickstarting a new habit. Once you get past those early stages, though, it will feel like an accomplishment.  

As with any habit, as you become more consistent in saving, results will become more obvious.

Here are some tips to keep yourself motivated as you complete the 100-envelope challenge:

1. Make the challenge a family activity

Saving to keep your family finances afloat can be daunting, but finding ways to get everyone in the family involved creatively can do a lot to make it a positive experience.

Your kids may not understand the value of the challenge, but they will be motivated to participate by coupling it with fun activities. 

For example, have them decorate the envelopes! This is a fun craft activity for them, and it will make the envelopes more meaningful for you when you see how much work they put into making them sparkle.

You can also have them write riddles, jokes, or “adventures” to include in the envelopes. This allows them to be creative and try to challenge you in return. 

Plus, whatever they come up with will surely make you laugh or brighten your mood!

You could even make opening the envelopes a family tradition you share. Get everyone together each day as you open your envelope, read their riddles or jokes, show off their decorations, and get everyone excited about the result. 

This is a fun, low-stakes way to introduce your kids to the value of saving money! Take the time to explain to them how saving works and why it’s important. 

If saving becomes a common family goal, the challenge can turn into an exercise of productive teamwork. 

2. Create a financial vision board

Money that you’re saving is going towards a goal you have in mind: a downpayment for a home, keeping up with car payments or saving for a well-deserved vacation. 

Sometimes, though, we forget about why we’re saving, making saving money the only goal.

Many have adopted vision boards to motivate them to make their dreams a reality. Vision boards are a collage or collection of images that provide motivation, inspiration, or affirmations toward your goals. 

They offer a daily reminder of why you’re doing what you’re doing, which can be a lifesaver—or a saving saver.

How can you make a financial vision board? Start by choosing some images that you associate with your goal. They can be anything that’s motivating to you—places you want to go, the food you want to eat, a lifestyle you want to achieve. Parse through them to find the most meaningful ones.

Now tie these images to your goals. Will saving allow you to eat out more? Or, will you be able to go somewhere you’ve always wanted to? 

The images are there to help you visualize your goals, so take some time to really observe them and picture them in your mind.

Finally, arrange the pictures on a large piece of paper, cardboard, or whiteboard.

You can arrange them however you like, but it might help to base their placement on things like how long it will take and how much it’ll cost. Write notes around the images with a pen or marker that provide more inspiration or motivation.

3. Reward yourself for your hard work

A huge hurdle with saving is feeling like your efforts don’t matter. 

They do, and it’s important to realize how far you’ve come! When you set milestones for yourself and reward yourself for those milestones, you’re telling yourself that you appreciate your own efforts and that those efforts matter.

You can reward yourself in small ways. 

For example, you could tape your favorite small treat to the envelope to eat as you open it. Alternatively, you could open the envelope as you do something small you enjoy during the day, like watching your favorite show or having your morning coffee.

You could also consider rewarding yourself in larger ways after each milestone. 

At the end of each month, set up a time and amount of money you’re willing to spend doing something you enjoy. This could be going to see a movie, going to a nice restaurant with your partner, or buying a game you’ve wanted for a while.

Consider using an app like SaverLife

SaverLife is a nonprofit that receives donations, and those donations are used to reward you directly for saving. You’ll receive points as you build your savings, and those points can be redeemed for cash and prizes. Also, SaverLife’s budgeting tools can help you stay motivated by staying informed.

Bulk up your savings account with help from SaverLife

A 100-envelope challenge can be a fantastic way to build your financial muscles. Another way is to use SaverLife.

SaverLife’s mission is to help working-class families cultivate the habits that’ll ensure a lifetime of financial stability. That’s because our fun, free, and educational online platform incentivizes individuals to save money. Seize control of your financial future with SaverLife today!